KALISPELL, Mont. – Governor Greg Gianforte today met with landowners in Flathead County who are participating in Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) Block Management Program, increasing public access and hunting opportunities for Montanans.
“Through Block Management, Montanans have access to nearly 8 million acres of private land to hunt and recreate, and even more when considering the access those acres provide to adjacent or isolated public lands,” Gov. Gianforte said. “I’m grateful for all our landowner partners in the Block Management Program who increase access and hunting opportunities for Montanans.”
Gov. Gianforte and First Lady Susan Gianforte visit the Meuli Ranch Block Management Area
First, the governor visited the Meuli Ranch Block Management Area in Dayton, with 1,500 enrolled acres allowing an average of 220 hunter days per year.
Mike Meuli, owner of Meuli Ranch, explained to the governor why they participate in the program.
“It’s been a great program,” said Meuli. “It’s something that we believe in – public resources, land resources, letting the public get out and use them and use them well. We’ve loved having young kids get their first deer or elk here.”
During the visit, Gov. Gianforte urged legislators to send to his desk Senate Bill 58, a bill that would double the payment cap for landowners participating in Block Management.
“Increasing the payment cap for this program is good for hunters, and it’s good for landowners. I urge the legislature to get this to my desk,” said Gov. Gianforte.
The bill cleared the Montana Senate on a 45-3 vote in January. The measure was transmitted to the Montana House of Representatives on January 31, and the House Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Committee is scheduled to hear it on March 14.
Later in the evening, the governor attended the Region 1 Block Management Program dinner hosted by FWP. There are over 680,000 acres enrolled in Block Management in Region 1.
There, he recognized Stimson Lumber and Stoltz Lumber – which own corporate timberland properties in the region – for their continued participation in the program for over two decades, providing public access to tens of thousands of acres of land.
Formally started in 1985, the Block Management Program is a cooperative program between private landowners and FWP that provides the public with free hunting access to private land and helps landowners manage hunting activities..